Regulation of energy metabolism by inflammation: a feedback response in obesity and calorie restriction

Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Jun;2(6):361-8. doi: 10.18632/aging.100155.


Caloric restriction (CR), in the absence of malnutrition, delays aging and prevents aging-related diseases through multiple mechanisms. A reduction in chronic inflammation is widely observed in experimental models of caloric restriction. The low inflammation status may contribute to the reduced incidence of osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular diseases and cancer in the aging subjects. The association of caloric restriction with low inflammation suggests a role of energy accumulation in the origin of the chronic inflammation. This point is enforced by recent advances in obesity research. Abundant literature on obesity suggests that chronic inflammation is a consequence of energy accumulation in the body. The emerging evidence strongly supports that the inflammatory response induces energy expenditure in a feedback manner to fight against energy surplus in obesity. If this feedback system is deficient (Inflammation Resistance), energy expenditure will be reduced and energy accumulation will lead to obesity. In this perspective, we propose that an increase in inflammation in obesity promotes energy expenditure with a goal to get rid of energy surplus. A decrease in inflammation under caloric restriction contributes to energy saving. Inflammation is a mechanism for energy balance in the body. Inflammation resistance will lead to obesity. We will review the recent literature in support of the viewpoints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Feedback, Physiological / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology